Police have one suspect in custody after two men robbed and assaulted a University student Monday night in front of Durfee’s Sweet Shoppe.
The woman was walking on Elm Street just after midnight when two men on bikes knocked her down and stole her purse, University Police Lt. Michael Patten said. Police chased the two men to Crown Street, but were only able to apprehend one of the men after they split up, he said.
Hector Rivera, 20, of New Haven, faces “a slew of charges” for the incident, Patten said, including robbery in the second degree, assault in the third degree, and larceny in the third degree.
“It’s a little more violent than an ordinary purse snatching,” Patten said. “It becomes a robbery because they pushed her down.”
Patten said police have leads on the identity of the second suspect.
“We hope we’re going to apprehend him,” Patten said. “We’re close.”
The student suffered minor cuts and bruises in the incident, Patten said.
Maria Stiles, an employee at Durfee’s, said she was working when she heard a woman outside screaming for help. The two robbers approached separately, Stiles said, one knocking the student down while the second tried to steal her purse.
Stiles said when she saw the second man grab for the purse, she ran outside carrying a 12-pack of Pepsi.
“I was going to hit him in the head with it,” Stiles said.
The man fled before Stiles could arrive, she said, and she went back inside and called police.
Police were able to recover the stolen property, Patten said.
Police are withholding a description of the second suspect. Stiles described the man as black, about six feet tall, and wearing a white shirt and blue cap.
Rivera faces additional charges of interfering with a police officer, for struggling with police during his arrest, and criminal trespass, for entering a private yard during the chase, Patten said. Still more charges — including possession with intent to sell and possession within 1,500 feet of a grade school — were brought against Rivera for marijuana found on his person during a search.
Patten said Rivera was also on parole at the time of the incident.
Rivera was arraigned Tuesday in the New Haven Courthouse on Elm Street, an official in the court clerk’s office said. He remains incarcerated on $50,000 bond and will be in court again on Sept. 23.
Muggings on campus occur infrequently, Patten said, but he advised students to take advantage of the escort service when travelling late at night.